The book marries a child's wonder with the sheer intellect of a philosopher. It not only gives a perspicuous introduction to the tradition of Yoga but also offers a plethora of philosophically insightful and coherent concepts. The book is based on the re -search papers presented by the authors at several conferences held at different universities in India. The research papers have been edited, revised and arranged in a particular sequence to form the chapters of the book. Though each of the chapters is sufficient in itself, yet in their collective form they present a novel dimension of the subject treated.
Dr. Rajeshwar Mukherjee had been the Research Officer at the Philosophico-Literary Research Department of Kaivalyadhama, the premier Yoga Research Institute supported by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India. He did his Ph.D. on the topic 'The World Order and Consciousness: Synthesis of Mathematical Physics and Vedanta Philosophy'. His research interest comprises Science of Consciousness, Quantum Interpretations, Modern Physics vis-a-vis Indian Philosophy, Vedanta, Yoga, Buddhism etc. He has more than fifteen national and international level research publications to his credit. He is one of the editors of the three books on Yoga published by his department.
Dr. Kakali Ghosh has been teaching in the Department of Sanskrit of Jadavpur University, Kolkata for last ten years. She did her Ph.D. in the areas of Sanskrit-Buddhist Narrative Literature. Dr. Kakali Ghosh is an accomplished scholar who has been teaching several subjects like the Vedas, Indian Philosophy, Sanskrit Grammar, Sanskrit literature, Indian Paleography, Research Methodology etc. Many students are working, at present. under her supervision for the award Ph.D. degree. She visits different universities like the Calcutta University, Rabindra Bharati University etc. to give lectures in different workshops. She Ms been actively collaborating with several research activities of Kaivalyadhama. She has published more than twenty research articles in renowned journals.
Speaking of Advaita as the quintessence of Yoga is really an interesting but tough task as far as the philosophical exposition is concerned. Although the experience of many saints, of old and modern times, may confirm the Advaita Reality, yet Dvaita experience dominates the ordinary domain of experience. In the tradition of Indian Philosophy it has been held through many centuries that the Yoga is a system of Dualism and Advaita is that of Non-dualism. A study of the fundamental doctrines of these two systems, of course, collaborates this understanding. Then how can there be a synthetic approach towards these apparently opposing systems? The present book by Dr. Rajeshwar Mukherjee and Dr. Kakali Ghosh is a peep into the intricacies of the subject offering a new thought on the common spiritual goal of both the systems to understand and assimilate.
The academic and polemic fight between the Advaita and Dvaita thinkers has been very hot for several centuries contributing richly to the formation of valuable treasure of philosophical literature which India is always proud of.
Let us see the basic theories of Advaita and then Samkhya, the Dvaita philosophy. Let as also see some of the reasoning put forth in defense of Duality and their refutation by the Advaita thinkers to appreciate their ideology in true spirit.
The Advaita Philosophy is based on the single Reality called the Brahman or attribute-less Consciousness. According to this philosophy the Brahman alone is the Reality and everything else is only an appearance or mithya. The individual self is an appearance due to the adjunct called Avidya or nescience. The Upanisads, on which the Advaita ideology is firmly based, describe the process of creation at many places. But, the creation as the world also is an appearance having temporary or empirical existence. There cannot be any creation in real sense. The ancient teachers of Advaita who realized the grave problem of reconciling the upanisadic concepts with Advaita theory had made many attempts to explain the creation on the lines of Advaita.
'There is a baffling problem of reconciling the noumenon and phenomenon. While establishing the Brahman alone as the Absolute Reality, the Advaita has to deal with the world experience which is obviously a matter of direct experience. , Advaita thinkers have discussed the experience of difference as world as a thing to be negated in the Brahman. Sriharsa, an Advaita logician, however makes it very clear that the true Advaitin is not bothered about analyzing and defining the world, but is intent on demonstrating the futility of the all attempts at proving the world as a reality other than Brahma, since the world and difference both are inexplicable.
Let us first try to understand what the Upanisad texts, on which the Advaita and other Vedanta theories arc based, try to speak of reality. As we go through the teachings of Upanisad texts we come across many passages and anecdotes in support of both Duality and Non-duality of the Reality.
There are passage, describing the world with all attributes. All material description is found in details with spiritual essence as the major thread. All this supports the Dualism. And there are passages that describe the Reality without any attributes, which obviously support the Advaita.
At few places it is described that the Reality is one without a second one. Whatever appears as the second is rejected as something unworthy or as mere appearance or illusion. This rejection raises the question how to explain phenomenal reality. By declaring phenomenal reality as an 'illusiOn7Ae ultimate nature of Brahman can be maintained.
It may be said that the scriptures describe creation and thus indicate difference between the Brahman and the world, but this view also is wrong because a creation different from the Brahman is not possible at all. Two different things cannot have the relation of cause and effect. If the world is said to be different from the Brahman, then it cannot be the effect of the latter. The inert world cannot be identical with the Brahman too.
The dualist may argue that the world is a place of all causes and their effects. This relation of cause and effect can exist between different things only. If there is only one object, the same cannot be the cause and effect also. Clay, At example, cannot be its own cause. So, single Brahman cannot be the Ultimate Reality.
The Advaita answer to this objection is that the scriptures also support only the non-difference of product or effect. The dualist should accept this as they too follow the scriptures. If they do not accept this then it would amount to saying that the scriptures propound falsity.
The present book is based on the research papers presented by the authors at several conferences held at different universities in India. The research papers have been edited, revised and arranged in a particular sequence to form the chapters of the book. Though each of the chapters is sufficient in itself, yet in their collective form they present a novel dimension of the subject treated. While editing, some write-ups have been grafted in order to build coherence between the different topics presented in the book. The book aims at providing a basic landscape of the world of Yoga with Advaita as its supreme goal.
The first chapter deals with general concept of Yoga and its historical development. Starting from the Vedas and the Upanisads, it presents an overall view of different systems of philosophy like Samkhya, Yoga and Vedanta to provide a better understanding of the subject. The synergy of these three systems of Indian philosophy has been explained in this chapter.
The second chapter presents the traditional perspective of Yoga along with the four different paradigms of Yoga prevailing it the modern times. It also highlights the unification of the four different paradigms as presented by Swami Vivekananda.
The third chapter is on the understanding of the Nature in its primordial form which is considered to be the cause of the manifest existence. It unfolds the evolution of the concept of Nature as discussed in the Samkhya philosophy and traces the path of its development in the Yoga and Vedanta. It leads to the conclusion that the concept of Nature, as found in Samkhya philosophy, was ultimately refined and fine-tuned by the exponents of Advaita-Vedanta.
The fourth chapter discusses about the legacy of Samkhya concepts in the philosophy of Adi Samkaracarya arguing that the master has accepted the Samkhya world-vim with some modifications.
The fifth chapter unravels the theory of Yoga as upheld in the texts of Advaita-Vedanta. It emphasizes that Advaita, non-duality, is the ultimate goal of Yoga.
The next chapter is a sincere attempt to trace the elements of Advaita-Vedanta in Manusmrti, which is one of significant texts of Dharmasastra.
The last chapter unveils the facts about the highest experience a samadhi as mentioned in Advaita-Vedanta; and it shows as to how the scriptural understanding is corroborated with the real life experience of Shri Ramakrishna, the Great Master.
**Contents and Sample Pages**